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12/19/2020 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The more than 300 boys who were kidnapped last weekend from a secondary school in Kankara, are alive and being held by their captors in a forest in Zamfara State. The governor of Katsina State confirmed that his administration is currently in talks with the leaders of the group who has the boys. According to the governor in an interview with BBC Hausa, “They are in Zamfara forests. We have got the information. We are negotiating with the kidnappers to ensure the release of the abducted students.”

This abduction was claimed by a man via audio tape, who claimed to be Abubakar Shekau, the notorious leader of Boko Haram. Significant doubts have arisen about these claims however. Inconsistencies with the way that the man spoke in the tape and the rest of Abubakar Shekau’s videos and audio clips have raised suspicions that the group may not be involved with this incident.

No matter who conducted the abduction though, there are still more than 300 boys in the hands of kidnappers. It is unclear at this time what they are demanding of the government, but the audio tape did say that they wanted to see Islam adhered to in the strictest form. They say that the school as well as all other forms of westernization are disrespecting to Islam and Allah.

It is also unclear if any of the children taken were Christians. If any of them are, it is likely that they will be treated differently than those who are already Muslims. During the last abduction in early 2018, 110 girls were kidnapped from Dapchi. All but 1 of them have been released to there families. Leah Sharibu, the lone remaining girl in captivity, was held back because she refused to convert. Please pray for all of the boys to remain healthy and to be returned safe as soon as possible.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].